LaGrange outscores Hampton
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The LaGrange Grangers, with senior Avery Hill providing a nice scoring boost, returned to the court for the first time in more than a week and secured a hard-earned 70-65 victory over Hampton on Saturday night.
Hill made a trio of 3-pointers and scored nine points to help LaGrange score a season-high 70 points while evening its record at 5-5.
Scotty Alexander, filling in for head coach Mark Veal who was unavailable, was happy to see the work Hill put in during practice carry over into a game.
“Avery had a good week of practice, and then he stepped up and showed it,” Alexander said. “He shot the ball this week in practice, and then he hit some big shots in the game for us.”
While Hill hasn’t been scoring much this season, that hasn’t been an issue for junior point guard Kobe Jones, who has had no trouble putting the ball through the basket.
Jones led LaGrange in scoring against Hampton with 27 points, and 21 of those points came in the first half, and he hit a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to give the home team a 42-31 lead.
Javon Brown added 14 points, with two of those points coming on a first-half dunk when he soared over a Hampton defender.
Malik Hall had 13 points and was 9-of-10 from the free-throw line, and sophomore Garrett Jacobsen chipped in with seven points, and as is usually the case, he had a stellar all-around game.
Jacobsen is a defensive stalwart in the paint, and he also pulls down plenty of rebounds and is comfortable handling the ball as well.
“Garrett ran the point in the second half, because they were trying to deny Kobe,” Alexander said. “He’s about the most versatile player we’ve got.”
The game was tied 19-19 after the first quarter, with Jones scoring seven points, and Hill knocking down a pair of 3-pointers.
In the second quarter, Jones exploded for 14 points as LaGrange outscored Hampton 23-12 to take a 42-31 lead at the half.
Jones finished the half with a flourish when he drained a 3-pointer from half-court to put the Grangers on top by 11 points.
Hampton fought back in the second half, and by the time the fourth quarter rolled around, LaGrange’s lead was down to 52-48.
LaGrange started the fourth quarter on an 8-2 run to take a 60-50 lead, but Hampton hung around and got within two with 3:10 to play.
Brown scored with 2:27 remaining to give the Grangers a 63-60 lead, and they were ahead by at least three points the rest of the way.
LaGrange will host Heritage on Tuesday before beginning its Region 2-AAAA schedule on Friday at Columbus High.